The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films

The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films
Image credit: Drafthouse Films, BBC Films, IFC Films, Open Road Films, Strand Releasing, Eammon Films

Riz Ahmed is more than just the star of "Sound of Metal," and we're about to prove it.

Here's our list of top picks for any Riz Ahmed fan to watch next.

1. Four Lions (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films - image 1"Four Lions" is a black comedy that explores the lives of a group of amateur jihadists in the UK. Ahmed plays Omar, who's the most level-headed in this hapless squad. Seriously, these guys can't even agree on a target! They go through several bungled training sessions, including one involving a crow and another with, believe it or not, a toy gun.

As the plot progresses, they finally decide to target the London Marathon. Dressed in ridiculous costumes, they make it to the event, but the real chaos starts there.

2. Shifty (2008)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films - image 2"Shifty" features Ahmed as the titular character, a drug dealer in London who's reunited with his old friend Chris after four years. So, Shifty has this routine where he drops off drugs to his regular customers. But Chris's sudden appearance throws him off his game. With Chris in tow, Shifty meets customers and dodges close calls with law enforcement.

Amidst all the drug runs, we learn about Shifty's strained relationship with his family and get glimpses of his past.

3. Trishna (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%
The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films - image 3Set in India, "Trishna" is a modern-day retelling of "Tess of the d'Urbervilles." Ahmed is Jay, the British son of a wealthy property owner. He meets Trishna, a poor Indian woman, and becomes infatuated with her. At first, he offers her a job at his dad's hotel, and everything seems dandy. Then he starts a romantic relationship with her, which becomes problematic because of the huge social and economic gaps between them.

Over time, Jay becomes increasingly possessive and controlling, moving Trishna from the city back to the countryside.

4. Ill Manors (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%
The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films - image 4Riz Ahmed stars as Aaron, an ex-drug dealer trying to make good. But it's not easy when you're entangled with characters like Kirby, a ruthless gangster, and Ed, a small-time drug dealer. Aaron gets pulled back into crime when he helps Ed recover stolen drugs.

As they go from one chaotic situation to another, including accidental shootings and dangerous confrontations, Aaron starts to realize that getting out of this world is harder than he thought.

5. The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%
The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films - image 5Here, Ahmed plays Changez, a Pakistani man who's living the American dream. He lands a job at a prestigious Wall Street valuation firm and even falls for a beautiful artist. But things go south after the 9/11 attacks. Faced with racial profiling and growing disillusionment with America, Changez reevaluates his life choices. He decides to go back to Pakistan and becomes a university professor.

However, his new life is complicated when an American journalist suspects him of having extremist ties. Soon, Changez is drawn into a kidnapping situation, putting his life and beliefs to the test.

6. Nightcrawler (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films - image 6In "Nightcrawler," Ahmed plays Rick, a young man desperate for work who becomes an assistant to Jake Gyllenhaal's Lou, a freelance crime journalist. They roam around L.A. at night, filming gruesome accidents and crimes to sell to news outlets.

The late-night drives, the police scanners, and the chase for the perfect footage – it's all so addictive. But Rick starts to question the morality of what they're doing, especially when Lou tampers with crime scenes to get better footage. The tipping point comes when they arrive at a home invasion scene even before the police.

7. City of Tiny Lights (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 59%
The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films - image 7Ahmed is Tommy Akhtar, a chain-smoking, whiskey-chugging private investigator in London. He's got a knack for finding people who don't want to be found. When his high-school sweetheart shows up with a case, how can he say no? She needs him to find her missing roommate, and this sends Tommy down a rabbit hole involving politicians, property schemes, and dangerous thugs.

As he looks deeper into the case, he uncovers secrets that have repercussions far beyond a simple missing person's inquiry.

8. Una (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%
The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films - image 8In "Una," Ahmed takes on the role of Scott, a man who becomes involved in a complicated and morally grey storyline. The main plot centers around Una, played by Rooney Mara, who confronts Ray, her neighbor who sexually abused her when she was 13. Scott is Ray's co-worker, who gets entangled in the unfolding drama when Una arrives unannounced at their workplace.

Soon, Scott finds himself having to choose sides and question his own moral compass. His interactions with both Una and Ray play a significant role in how the tension-laden situation unfolds.

9. Mughal Mowgli (2020)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
The List of 9 Lesser-Known Riz Ahmed Films - image 9In a more personal project, Ahmed plays Zed, a British-Pakistani rapper on the verge of his first world tour. But right before he's set to leave, he's hit with an autoimmune disease. He ends up in a hospital bed, battling not just his physical condition but also his cultural identity and family pressures. His rival rapper takes his tour, and Zed is left to confront what his life has become.

The story explores his relationship with his family, especially his father, as he tries to make sense of his career and personal life.